Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Turn of Events

So here I was, taking my dog, Elvis, for a pleasant afternoon walk. I was gone just 30 minutes, but when I returned, there were six, count 'em, six urgent voicemails on my cell phone.

"Eileen, this is your mother's doctor. You need to take her to emergency."

"Eileen, my doctor is trying to reach you. Call her back."

"Eileen, it's your mother's doctor again. Call me."

And so on. Try not freaking out with those types of messages.

I called Dr. Sidhu and learned Mom indeed needed to go to emergency. Earlier that day, for some mysterious reason, her stomach had bloated to three times its normal size and and her doctor had ordered a Cat Scan. The results just came in; her stomach was filled with water and needed to be drained right away.

I picked Mom up . She looked 12 months pregnant and was in obvious distress. She could hardly walk with her suddenly huge extended belly. We arrived at emergency and signed in at 4:00 pm.

Waited 30 minutes. Moved to a room. Waited 30 minutes. Met with the doctor. Waited 30 minutes. Prepped for the procedure. Waited 30 minutes. Waited for the procedure. Waited 30 minutes. Waited 30 minutes. Waited 30 minutes.

And so on.

Finally, at 8:30 pm the seas parted, the angles sang, and the great almighty doctor appeared. A decent guy, actually. I was just tired and stressed to capacity by then, watching my poor mother writhing with discomfort. He punctured her abdomen with some horrendous midieval apparatus that resembled a knitting needle and began draining the water from her stomach.

And in the process, filled THREE liter-sized bottles. Mom's bloated belly collapsed to its normal size and the result was instantaneous. The poor thing sighed in relief... ahhhhhh.....

But what caused this water build-up to begin with? The doctor discussed three possibilities.

  1. an infection
  2. liver problems OR
  3. a word I can't bear to mention. A word I hope doesn't rear its ugly head again, now or ever.

So when the pathology report comes in next week, I'm expecting one more call from Dr. Sidhu. One in which I'm hoping she says that Mom just has some weird infection and a good ol' dose of antibiotics will do the trick.

Fingers crossed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

40th Anniversary Moon Landing

Ah, 40 years ago today. Man lands on the moon. And what do I remember?

It was a muggy summer night, dusk actually. I was 11 years old and playing a very rough version of what might be called badminton on the street in front of my house with my friend, Isa Campinile. Missing the birdie more often than not, but we were having fun and that's all that mattered.

Suddenly, my mom appeared on the front porch. "Hurry girls!" she cried out. "Man is about to land on the moon!"

Uh, okay. Sure. Maybe later, mom. We're playing badminton here, can't you see?

That wasn't quite the answer she was expecting to hear. Or would accept, for that matter.

"GET IN HERE NOW!" she screeched at the top of her lungs. "History is being made and you're going to watch WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT!"

And in the house we went. Meekly. Obediently. To watch Alan Shepard take one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind".

Whether we liked it or not.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Week of Pins and Needles

The other night I stuck a safety pin through my tongue, just to see if I could feel it. I've accepted the fact that the lower half of my face is permanently numb thanks to nerve damage from my jaw surgery 16 months ago. Still, I remain hopeful that one day some feeling will return. And that Johnny Depp might call.

But I didn't feel a thing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. All I got was grossed out seeing a safety pin in my tongue. So Sid and Nancy-ish. I would have definitely flunked as a punk fashionista.

Later in the week I experienced a jab of another kind: my first bee sting. Now that I DID feel. Having never been stung before, I was concerned about a potential allergic reaction, especially since my heart started race-race-racing. I called my HMO's medical advice line.

"Can you breathe? the nurse asked.

"Uh yes, bu...."

"Please hold."

When she returned 15 minutes later, I snapped that my concern about an allergic reaction had pretty much been addressed because after waiting one quarter of an hour, I was still alive, thank you very much. I swear, for an organization that claims they want me to thrive, they sure are getting on my last intact nerve.

How fitting that the week ended with another unnerving experience: Layoffs. A subject scary enough to get anyone gasping for air. When my manager called me into his office to discuss a brochure I was writing, I thought it safe to deviate from my usual policy of avoiding management when rumors of layoffs are afloat.

After all, they can't fire me if they can't catch me.

But then he shut the door and launched our conversation with the subject of layoffs and my heart leaped to my throat. Duped by the old "bait and switch" routine! And clever man that he is, he stood between me and the door--there was no escape.

However, he just wanted to repeat what had already been shared during an impromptu meeting earlier that day: our organization's current state of affairs, which are actually quite good in light of the economy, and the fact that the whispered rumors were indeed just that - rumors that resulted from the elimination of one position.


All things considered, I can live with a tongue as a pin cushion. There's so much worse to worry wondering why Johnny hasn't called.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Best (snort) Year Ever

So the year is already half over. Thank God, I say. Not that I've held any particularly high expectations for 2009, although I have to confess I was just a wee bit hopeful it might be better than previous years. But I’ve discovered that harboring such a desire is akin to wanting a new hairdo and trading in your blow dryer for a blow torch.

Both leave you burned and wondering what the hell just happened.

The economy's still tanking, the unemployment rate is at an all time high, and inflation is going through the roof. Now, to add fuel to the fire, people all around me are dying. Especially unsettling are the ones my age that are dropping dead from undiagnosed heart disease. This leaves me paranoid every time I so much as burp after gulping a Pepsi.

Besides, I can't afford to die just yet. There are still six months left in which to make 2009 my Best Year Ever. It has to be.

My horoscope said so.

Yeah, I scan my horoscope every Sunday, but with my usual horoscope attitude: If it's bad, I ignore it and if it's good, I believe it. Fair enough, dontcha think?

So here's the thing - every single Aquarian horoscope in 2008 predicted things like:
  • "...if you ever wanted to make changes in your life, this is the time."
  • "...your already well-known communication skills will be showcased..."
  • "...the best year of the rest of your life takes off..."
  • "...something wonderful is going to happen, but you don't know what."
  • "...Better believe that you'll be in a very difference place come 2010."
  • "...the next 10 months are a cosmic gift."
So far the first six of these ten months have been less a "cosmic gift" and more a cosmic kick in the pants. Like discovering Ex-Lax in the brownies.

But I remain hopeful that 2009 will redeem itself. This might explain why one friend always refers to me as Pollyanna. I'm an eternal optimist, she says, always seeing the good in things. I wish that were so, but know better. I'm really a closet pessimist who is always expecting the worst, like a burp turning into a heart attack.

Still, I can hope that the second half of 2009 holds something bright and happy. After all, "the new moon is shedding a light of opportunity...."

My horoscope said so.
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